Island Forest

by Maurizio Cucchi

I’m not in my house anymore,
but in that breezy place that gives me everything.
Its serene geometry
provides an entryway for light to find
the damp and slender bodies on the terrace
in the weekday tracks of lazy negligence.

I hear from here the voices in the square,

I see the sea that opens like a lake
on the woods and if there is a wind
a domesticated countryside of cicadas
that shields our steps in the middle of the day
when time no longer has a direction:

across the entire plain, deserted now,
and at the clearing’s edge where the fog rolls in.

* * *

Fritz had said to me, a little bit
evasively, there was night life on the island.
I thought about those little landslides there,
and labyrinths, those slender tree trunks, and a solitary
sinking into the mire in the darkness
and savoring groundless anxiety, being lost, the shivers,
the ground.
I resorted to childhood Prealpine images
of cyclamens, of damp, of fragrances,
to keep myself moving forward
among the fine paths covered up by night.
But those guys who came knocking,
in the dark hours of wind and thunderstorm,
on the door of our little cabin and woke us up,
had more modest mysteries in their shoes
and so they would have been chewed up by the brake
or else they would have found themselves caressed
tenderly in the silence by some snake.

* * *

We are all individuals as distinct
from one another as the cobblestones.

I am a blister, I am a bladder
and I ooze myself from my very being.

* * *

Vacation opens up for us a sweet
void of complete suspension and on setting off
it stirs us up and endlessly breathes free.

I love the people of the month of August
floating in the air
and in the drowsy weather.
I love the anonymous crowd
quietly exploring the promenades
and laughing by the sea in an open-air cafe.

A beat-up old hat on my head,
I’m here already waiting for the bus.
I’m always turned around,
eyes always on the climb,
but the island’s disappeared in the meantime.

translated by Michael Palma